The roulette wheel is probably one of the oldest known casino devices. Because of its uniqueness, the roulette wheel layout has garnered much speculation from the gambling public.
Roulette Wheel Layout – History
It is believed that the original roulette wheel layout could be traced back to Asia where the Ancient Chinese and Tibetans played a game using 37 animal statuettes. Back then, the roulette wheel layout did not follow the standard “wheel” form that we see now. Instead, the Chinese used a “magic square” with numbers that total up to 666. Incidentally, this is the same total that we come up with if we add all the numbers in a modern roulette wheel layout from 0 to 36.
After the Chinese, it is said that the game was brought to Europe by French Dominican monks who were on a missionary quest in Asia. The roulette wheel layout underwent a few modifications in 14th century France. Around 1655, the French mathematician and scientist Blaise Pascal invented the first wheel based on that ancient Chinese game brought by the monks. This roulette wheel layout became widely used in early casinos.
In 1842, Frenchmen Francois and Louis Blanc introduced the double-zero (0, 00) to the roulette wheel layout so now the standard wheel contains 38 numbers. When gambling was banned in France, Louis Blanc and his child Camille moved to Hamburg, Germany where they once again popularized the single-zero roulette wheel layout. For years, this roulette wheel layout was standard in all casinos, especially in Monte Carlo, Monaco’s most famous casino.
Eventually, roulette found its way into American soil where the roulette wheel layout underwent another major change.
Roulette Wheel Layout – Types
There are two general types of roulette wheel layouts. The first type is the one used in American roulette. This roulette wheel layout uses the double-zero format with 38 numbers, including the 0, 00, and 1 through 36. This type of roulette wheel layout allows a house advantage of 5.26%.
The other type of roulette wheel layout is the standard for all European wheels. It has only 37 numbers, including 0 and 1 through 36. The house advantage for this type of roulette wheel layout is significantly lower at 2.7% compared to the American wheel.
Roulette Wheel Layout – Number and Color Placement
The roulette wheel layout is impressive in terms of mathematics and balance. All the numbers, including the low, high, odd, and even, are alternated and spaced out over the wheel. The colors red, black, and green (for the two zeros) are also alternated and evenly separated.
In a typical roulette wheel layout, when you add up all the numbers, you get a total of 666. However, if you add all the 18 odd colors, you only have 342. This makes it impossible to achieve perfect mathematical balance in a roulette wheel layout.
To overcome this one flaw, manufacturers have devised a specific arrangement for roulette wheel layouts to give them the best possible mathematical balance. The result is that you have the two zeros, 0 and 00, arranged opposite each other and colored green to distinguish them from the other numbers. The rest of the 18 numbers are then alternated on each side of the two zeros. The single-zero or 0 is between two black numbers and as the wheel progresses, the color alternates until you end with two red numbers on each side of the double-zero or 00.